Firefighters tackled an average of one wildfire a day in Scotland last year - including seven in Argyll and Bute.

New statistics show that during the peak season in 2023, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) had 133 incidents between March and June.

Of those, seven were in Argyll and Bute, 50 in the Highlands, and 10 in the Outer Hebrides.

Another 10 were in Dumfries and Galloway, nine in Fife and eight in North Lanarkshire.

A total of 48 wildfires were recorded in the category for the largest area of damage, spreading to more than a hectare each.

A prolonged dry and warm period in June saw multiple wildfires across Scotland simultaneously, involving “hundreds” of firefighters over several weeks, according to the SFRS.

This included two of the largest wildfires recorded during the year, at Cannich near Inverness and in Kinlochmoidart on the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

Another June wildfire, on the Campsie Fells near Fintry, could be seen from as far away as Queen’s Park in Glasgow.

Helicopters were used to extinguish the most severe blazes, and the public were warned that campfires and “careless behaviour” including failing to properly dispose of cigarettes, could create a hazard.

Crews are notified of risks by the Scottish Wildfire Forum, which issues a wildfire danger assessment to highlight areas most likely to be affected.

During colder months, frost can remove moisture from vegetation leaving it tinder dry, while very warm and dry conditions in spring and summer can leave the ground primed to fuel a fire, and strong winds during either season can cause flames to spread.

Deputy assistant chief officer (DACO) Bruce Farquharson, SFRS wildfire lead, said: “Wildfires are extremely dangerous as they can spread rapidly over many hectares of land. Careless behaviour is often the root cause of wildfires which have the potential to burn for days or weeks, placing a significant drain on our crews.

“With sensible precautions, the public can play a crucial part in preventing wildfires from damaging wildlife, the environment and rural communities.”

He added: “When there is an active wildfire warning in place, we would ask people not to start a fire outdoors.

“Even with the best of intentions, there is still a risk that fire can spread. For example, if you light a campfire and don’t fully extinguish it before you leave, it can have devastating consequences.

“People should also ensure other items such as cigarettes are disposed of safely and responsibly.”